Ahithophel


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Related to Ahithophel: Absalom

Ahithophel

(əhĭth`əfĕl), in the Bible, David's counselor who joined with Absalom against David. He killed himself when Absalom ignored his counsel. He may have been the grandfather of Bath-sheba. The Vulgate form of the name is Achitophel.

Ahithophel

, Achitophel Old Testament
a member of David's council, who became one of Absalom's advisers in his rebellion and hanged himself when his advice was overruled (II Samuel 15:12--17:23)
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Because Ahithophel is not a warrior and his suicide does not take place in battle, his chosen instrument is not a weapon (unlike Abimelech, Saul, and Saul's squire, who were killed or killed themselves with a sword) but a noose.
Ahithophel's return to his hometown closes a circle.
Just as with Abimelech in Shechem, here, too, the narrator adds that the Lord set in motion the event (the rejection of his advice) that led to Ahithophel's suicide: The Lord had decreed that Ahithophel's sound advice be nullified, in order that the Lord might bring ruin upon Absalom (17:14).
The difference is that whereas Samson's suicide is motivated by his thirst for vengeance, Zimri (like Saul and Ahithophel) is evidently seeking to kill himself before his enemies can kill him; having reached this decision, he then chooses a method--burning down the palace--that strikes at his foe as well.
Ahithophel kills himself before open warfare breaks out between the forces of Absalom and David.
He is represented in Dante's Inferno , in which he carries his severed head before him like a lantern and is compared with the biblical Achitophel (Ahithophel), who also incited a royal son (Absalom) against his father (David).